The Ergothioneine Trivia Quiz

Ergothioneine Transporter Protein: Unveiling the Role of OCTN1

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Welcome trivia enthusiasts! Today, we are diving into the world of Ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant with a name that sounds like it belongs in a fantasy novel. In this edition of our journey through the vast universe of trivia, we’ll be exploring a popular question from The Ergothioneine Trivia Quiz and the role of OCTN1.

So, buckle up and get ready to unravel the mysteries surrounding this magical compound!

Here’s Our Question of the Day

See if you can answer this question from The Ergothioneine Trivia Quiz before reading on.

Unveiling the Enigmatic OCTN1 Transporter Protein

In the vast universe of ergothioneine transportation, one crucial player stands out – OCTN1. Let’s uncover the mysteries surrounding this transporter protein and its pivotal role in facilitating the movement of ergothioneine in humans and animals.

The OCTN1 Gene and its Functionality

OCTN1, short for Organic Cation Transporter Novel 1, is encoded by the SLC22A4 gene located on chromosome 5 in humans. This gene belongs to a family of transporters known for their role in facilitating the transport of various molecules across cell membranes.

Specifically, OCTN1 is responsible for the uptake of ergothioneine, a potent antioxidant, into cells where it can exert its protective effects against oxidative stress. This transporter plays a crucial role in ensuring the adequate levels of ergothioneine are maintained in the body for optimal health and wellness.

Distribution and Expression in Tissues

OCTN1 is widely expressed in various tissues throughout the body, including the intestines, liver, kidneys, and skeletal muscle. Its presence in these different organs highlights the importance of ergothioneine transport not only for systemic antioxidant defense but also for specific cellular functions in each tissue.

Notably, OCTN1 expression levels can be influenced by various factors such as age, diet, and disease states. Understanding the regulation of this transporter is crucial for harnessing the full benefits of ergothioneine in promoting overall health and well-being.

Implications for Health and Disease

The role of OCTN1 in ergothioneine transport has significant implications for human health. Ergothioneine, with the help of OCTN1, contributes to cellular protection against oxidative damage, inflammation, and other detrimental processes implicated in various diseases.

Furthermore, studies have suggested potential links between OCTN1 function and conditions such as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, and even aging. Unraveling the intricacies of this transporter protein opens up new avenues for therapeutic interventions aimed at enhancing ergothioneine uptake and maximizing its health benefits.



Despite its role in transporting neurotransmitters like serotonin, SLC6A4 is not the transporter protein responsible for ergothioneine in humans and animals. The function of SLC6A4 lies primarily in the central nervous system, where it plays a crucial part in regulating mood, emotion, and behavior.


ATP7A is a copper-transporting ATPase that helps regulate copper levels in the body. While copper is an essential nutrient, especially for enzymes involved in redox reactions, ATP7A is not the transporter responsible for ergothioneine transport. Its main function is to maintain copper homeostasis and ensure proper distribution of copper throughout the body.


GLUT1, also known as the glucose transporter 1, is vital for glucose uptake in various tissues. However, it is not involved in the transportation of ergothioneine. GLUT1 is crucial in providing energy to cells by facilitating the transport of glucose across cell membranes, particularly in the brain, red blood cells, and placenta.


In the world of ergothioneine transportation, the star of the show is undoubtedly the OCTN1 transporter protein. This specialized protein plays a crucial role in ensuring that ergothioneine reaches its intended destinations in both humans and animals.

Think you’ve got a good grasp on ergothioneine and its partners in crime? Put your knowledge to the test by taking our Ergothioneine Trivia Quiz now!

Professor Leonard Whitman